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Atlantic Tropical Weather Update 8/17/09 #1

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As of today, Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall southeast of Fort Walton Beach, FL.  She has weakened to a Tropical Depression xince.  The threat from this storm remains torrential rainfalls and flooding, as has been the case during her brief lifetime so far.  Her center’s location is 31.3N, 87.2W; she has maximum sustained winds of 35mph.

Tropical Storm Ana couldn’t fight off the dry Saharan air that accompanied her off of Africa last week.  She weakened to a Tropical Depression yesterday before crossing over the Lesser Antilles near Guadeloupe.  Now in the northeastern Caribbean, T.D. Ana‘s vitals are as follows:

Center located at 16.7N, 64.8W; moving WNW @ 28mph; maximum sustained winds of 35mph.

T.D. Ana’s track forecast has shifted since yesterday.  She is expected to hit Hispanola more directly tomorrow than forecasted before, which will all but kill this storm with its extremely high terrain.  She will re-emerge over the Atlantic north of Cuba Wednesday, then she could possibly move between Cuba and Florida on her way to the Gulf of Mexico as a remnant low.  It is unlikely at this time that she would restrengthen to a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm.  Time will tell, however, as Ana has beat the odds once already.

Bill is the bright point of the 2009 Season from a meteorological point-of-view.  As expected, Tropical Storm Bill strengthened to Hurricane Bill overnight.  His vitals this morning are:

Center located at 13.8N, 44.0W; moving WNW @ 22mph; maximum sustained winds of 75mph; minimum pressure of 987mb.

Hurricane Bill has the classic look of a healthy storm, with strong outflow to all quadrants of the storm and banded thunderstorms.  He hasn’t developed an eye-wall yet, but that should happen later today.

Hurricane Bill’s official track forecast continues to keep it out to sea during the remainder of his life, in line with all the model output.  Fortunately, that track keeps him to the north/northeast of the Antilles.  At most, they appear likely to receive only storm surge and the outer bands of the storm.  That track is typical of Cape Verde storms like Bill.  The only question at this time is whether a weakness in the subtropical ridge forms, which might allow for a deviation in the forecasted storm motion.  We’ll have to wait a couple of days to see whether that occurs or not.

Hurricane Bill should continue to steadily strengthen over the next couple of days, becoming a Category 2 hurricane by tomorrow morning and a major hurricane (Category 3+) late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.  Thereafter, Bill should modulate in strength through days 4&5.

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